|Publication number||US6910488 B2|
|Application number||US 10/246,861|
|Publication date||Jun 28, 2005|
|Filing date||Sep 19, 2002|
|Priority date||May 1, 2002|
|Also published as||US20030205260|
|Publication number||10246861, 246861, US 6910488 B2, US 6910488B2, US-B2-6910488, US6910488 B2, US6910488B2|
|Inventors||Thomas E. McConnell, Francois Hacquard, Michael E. Henley|
|Original Assignee||Prince Lionheart, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (46), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (9), Classifications (7), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/136,520, filed May 1, 2002, which is incorporated herein in its entirety.
The present invention relates generally to a storage container, and more particularly, to a basket for storing valves of toddler training cups, suitable for use in a dishwasher.
As most children go through a stage of throwing or dropping their cups constantly, spillproof training cups are commonly used for children to learn the proper way of drinking from a cup. As shown in
Therefore a substantial need in the art exists to provide a container that can hold the valves in a certain position in a dishwasher, to achieve proper and thorough cleaning of the same. Preferably, such a container exposes the valves to dishwasher cleaning sprays from a multitude of orientations to provide increased cleaning of the valves.
Furthermore, dirty valves often remain unclean for hours at a time before they can be ultimately cleansed in the dishwasher. Residual liquids on the valve, such as milk or juice, typically dry out before the valve is properly cleaned. Once dried out, the residual liquid leaves a deposit caked onto the valve, thereby making the task of cleaning the valve more difficult. If dirty valves are soaked in a liquid before they are cleaned, such residual fluid would not have an opportunity to dry out. Likewise, soaking tends to dissolve deposits that have previously formed on the valves, thereby ensuring that the valves are cleaner before they enter the dishwasher. Therefore, there is a need for a container within which a toddler cup valve dishwasher basket can soak.
The present invention provides a dishwasher basket for storing at least one valve of toddler training cups in a dishwasher for proper cleaning. The dishwasher basket is preferably composed of a top shell, a bottom shell and a pair of latching means. In one embodiment, the pair of latching means include two snap type latches to releasably connect the top and the bottom shells together at two opposing parts of the peripheries thereof. Alternatively, the pair of latching means includes a hinging structure to permanently hinge one part of the peripheries of the top and the bottom shells, and a snap type latch at the opposing part of the peripheries, such that the dishwasher basket may selectively open for loading and unloading the valve, and close for securely maintaining the valve therein through the dishwasher cycle. The top shell and the bottom shell are substantially symmetrical to each other and preferably formed in cylindrical or semi-spherical shape.
In one aspect of the present invention, the dishwasher basket includes a plurality of dividers protruding inwardly from the top and bottom shells to define a central area and a storage area about the central area. Also, the dishwasher basket may include a plurality of partitioning walls to partition the storage area into a plurality of compartments. The walls thereby inhibit valves from moving between compartments. Thus, the walls allow for increased cleaning capability.
The dishwasher basket is preferably attached to a top rack of the dishwasher vertically above the water jet source by a basket attachment, such that complete cleaning is enhanced by the water stream pressure generated by the water jet. The basket attachment comprises an attaching means or mount for attaching to the top rack of the dishwasher, a pedestal or prong engaged with the center of the bottom shell, and an arm extending between the mount and the pedestal. Preferably, the pedestal is snapped in a center aperture of the bottom shell, and the mount comprises a clamp, a clip or a hook selectively engageable with the dishwasher rack. The arm preferably has a length no shorter than the radius of the dishwasher basket. Therefore, during washing cycle of the dishwasher, the dishwasher basket may wobble about and partially or completely axially rotate above the central axis of the pedestal to vary the attack angle of the water jet contacting the valves contained therein and further improve the washing effect of the valves. In one aspect of the present invention, the dishwasher basket includes fins that extend outwardly from the bottom shell. These fins increase the exposed external surface area of the dishwasher basket so that the water jet is more likely to hit the dishwasher basket 20 and make it wobble for more effective cleaning.
In another aspect of the present invention is a container suitable for holding a soaking fluid as well as a training cup valve dishwasher basket. The container has an aperture at its top end through which the training cup valve dishwasher basket can be positioned into the container. In one embodiment, the container also has at least one suction cup attached to its bottom surface useful for releasably attaching the container to a counter top or similar surface. Moreover, in one embodiment, the container includes a lid that can be attached at the top end to substantially cover the aperture, to thereby reduce spillage of the soaking fluid. The container allows the valves to soak before being washed in the dishwasher, and this pre-soak facilitates the subsequent cleansing of the valves.
In one embodiment, the container is sold with the dishwasher basket. In this regard, one aspect of the present invention is a valve cleaning system that includes two dishwasher baskets, one basket attachment, and one container. As such, one dishwasher basket can be placed inside a dishwasher to clean valves while another dishwasher basket can soak inside the container, thereby adding convenience to the valve cleaning process.
These, as well as other features of the present invention, will become more apparent upon reference to the drawings wherein:
The dishwasher basket 20 further comprises a plurality of dividers 25 protruding inwardly from the shells 21, 22 to define a central area 27, and a storage area 28 of the valve 16 about the central area 27. In the storage area 28, each of the shells 21, 22 further comprises a plurality of partition elements 26 to partition the storage area 28 into a plurality of compartments. The partitioning elements 26 comprise a plurality of wire frames protruding inwardly from the shells 21, 22. For example, n-shaped wire frames are formed as the partitioning elements 26 in this embodiment. Therefore, each of the valves 16 is disposed in a specific compartment without moving to the other compartment. Therefore, the adverse cleaning effect caused by crowding the valves 16 together is avoided.
The dishwasher basket 20 can be attached at any rack at any desired position of the dishwasher to obtain a water stream injected to the valve 16 in a specific direction. For example, the basket 20 can be horizontally aligned with the water jet to provide a water stream vertically injected toward the valves 16. Preferably, the dishwasher basket 20 is placed in the top shelf or rack and aligned over the water jet source in a dishwasher. In
As mentioned above, the dishwasher basket 20 is supported by the basket attachment 30 at the center 29 of the bottom shell 21. Therefore, the dishwasher basket 20 can wobble, bounce, shake, gyrate and partially or completely rotate about the central axis during the washing cycle. The movement of the dishwasher basket 20 is shown in
Turning now to
Moreover, the dishwasher basket 20 of
Turning now to
Thus, a user can load dirty valves 16 into the dishwashing basket 20, and then soak the same in the soaking container 100. Preferably, the dishwashing basket 20 is fully immersed by the soaking fluid to increase cleaning effectiveness. As such, the dirty valves 16 remain moist and are unlikely to dry out and form caked-on deposits of dried milk, juice, or other liquid on the valve 16. Similarly, dirty valves 16 that have dried out also benefit from such soaking because the soaking loosens the deposits formed when the valve 16 dried out. In either case, the valves 16 can be cleaned more easily when the dishwashing basket 20 is pre-soaked in the soaking container 100.
In one embodiment, a suction cup 108 is attached to the bottom side 104 of the soaking container 100. The suction cup 108 is widely known in the art for being able to removably attach to flat surfaces. Thus, the suction cup 108 can be used to anchor the soaking container 100 to a counter top or like surface, and since many counter tops often get wet, the suction cup 108 inhibits the soaking container 100 from otherwise sliding or falling off of the slippery counter top. It is understood that multiple suction cups 108 could be used in another embodiment, without departing from the spirit of invention.
Moreover, in the embodiment shown, the soaking container 100 comprises a lid 112. The lid 112 is flat and approximately the same shape and size as the opening 106. The lid 112 is hingedly attached to the top end 105, and as such, the lid 112 can cover the opening 106 and prevent foreign particles from entering the soaking solution. Furthermore, in another embodiment, the lid 112 includes a clasp 123, and once clasped, the lid 112 seals soaking solution inside the soaking container 100 to thereby reduce spillage.
In one embodiment, the soaking container 100 is sold with the dishwasher basket 20. In the preferred embodiment, the soaking container 100 is sold with two dishwasher baskets 20 and the basket attachment 30. As such, one dishwasher basket 20 can soak in the soaking container 100 while the other dishwasher basket 20 is inside the dishwasher, thereby adding convenience to the valve cleaning process.
Indeed, each of the features and embodiments described herein can be used by itself, or in combination with one or more of other features and embodiment. Thus, the invention is not limited by the illustrated embodiment but is to be defined by the following claims when read in the broadest reasonable manner to preserve the validity of the claims.
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|U.S. Classification||134/135, 134/166.00R, 134/201, 211/41.8|
|Sep 19, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PRINCE LIONHEART, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCCONNELL, THOMAS E.;HACQUARD, FRANCOIS;HENLEY, MICHAEL E.;REEL/FRAME:013310/0867
Effective date: 20020918
|Jul 8, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 21, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8